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  #1  
Old January 12th, 2018, 12:29 PM
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Timon Timon is offline
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Booting RPi from USB instead of the MicroSD card

Sorry, I held this back but I forgot something and wanted to have it somewhat complete.

I've been considering upgrading my Zee S3 to a RBpi 3 processor and at the same time switching from booting from the MicroSD card to a USB device.

Why, few of reasons. You can boot to anything from most USB stick however booting from an SSD or a real hard drive can be an issue as it's all dependent on the drive. Another thing is that USB sticks are MUCH more resistance to being damaged by sudden power loss than a MicroUSB. They, for the same size, tend to cost the same or a bit less.

Since you likely don't want to have a big USB sticks hanging out the side so I'd pickup one of these USB Fit Drives which take-up almost no space at all. See Picture below. I'd got ahead and get the USB 3.0 versions so if a new pi comes out with USB 3.0 it will take advantage of it. Also, it's faster to load from most computers.

There are two ways to boot from a USB drive. One still requires you to have a MicroSD card to start and the other bypasses the MicroSD card all together.

For both way the USB it will use the same images you would normally put on a MicroSD card.

Method one:

This way starts the boot with a MicroSD card but continues it from the USB device. It's a good place to start as you can make sure your USB drive is working. Note, this only works with Raspberry twos, threes and I think even ones.

Boot Raspbian from a USB drive.

Method two:

This second way totally gets rid of MicroSD card requirement. I requires the setting of a One Time Programmable Flag and only works with the RBpi three and above.

If you want to give this a try and have a spare RBpi 3 you want to dedicate to this here are the instructions from the Raspberry Pi foundation on how to do it.

NOTE: Beware that this method is permanent, once done you can't go back to booting from the SD card, however as I read the information from the Raspberry Pi foundation instructions it seems to hint that if an MicroSD card is inserted it will still boot from it. I've not been able to confirm this anywhere so I'd still figure that making this change will kill MicroSD card booting. If I can confirm I will post it here.

I haven't tried with method yet but hope soon. I just through I'd post this incase anyone else wanted to give it a try.
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John (N6BER), Joyce, Lucas (Golden Retriever mix), Bella (Great Pyrenees) and Lance (GP).
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HomeSeer Version: HS3 ZEE S2 Edition 3.0.0.368
Linux version: Linux HomeTrollerZeeS2V2 4.1.19-v7+ #858 SMP Tue Mar 15 15:56:00 GMT 2016 armv7l GNU/Linux
Mono version: 4.5.1
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3.0.0.12: AirplaySpeak
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3.0.1.109: PHLocation
3.0.1.130: Z-Wave

Last edited by Timon; January 13th, 2018 at 10:36 AM.
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  #2  
Old January 12th, 2018, 01:40 PM
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Yeah with the RPI you can boot from the SD card and put the OS on the USB stick but you cannot boot both the boot partition and the OS partition from a USB stick.
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Hardware | HS3 Pro - Haswell iSeries 3 - 16Gb | HS3 Lite Pine64 2Gb computers

HS3 Pro & Lite
Edition Beta 3.0.0.398 | Ubuntu 16.04 64 bit | Oracle Windows Virtual Box ==> for Wintel only SAPI and HS3 plugins

HS3 Plugins - a bunch
Light switches - X10,UPB, ZWave and Zigbee
Speech - Microsoft SAPI - Amazon Echo
Security - Leviton Omni Pro 2
Weather - Davis Vantage Vue - MeteoStick
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CCTV - Zoneminder


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  #3  
Old January 12th, 2018, 02:01 PM
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Actually, you can boot directly. That’s what the post I’m holding goes over. There is one thing I wanted to double check before I release it later today.
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  #4  
Old January 12th, 2018, 02:08 PM
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Ahh...see that now...

Before a Raspberry Pi 3 will boot from a mass storage device, it needs to be booted from an SD card with a config option to enable USB boot mode. This will set a bit in the OTP (One Time Programmable) memory in the Raspberry Pi SoC that will enable booting from a USB mass storage device. Once this bit has been set, the SD card is no longer required. Note that any change you make to the OTP is permanent and cannot be undone.

Years ago tinkering with the Seagate Dockstar / Debian went to booting from an SSD / USB stick. The stick was large and true SSD. (KingSpec). Never an issue with this setup as it worked now for over 5 years 24/7.
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  #5  
Old January 12th, 2018, 08:59 PM
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What I’m trying to find out is once the bit is set will it still try the SD card. Some say yes and some say no. I’m going to email the RBpi group and get the final word.
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  #6  
Old January 13th, 2018, 09:50 AM
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Still looks a bit iffy and it appears to be a one way change and the boot code appears to be configured in a 32k memory slot written to the RPi3.

The safe way to do this still appears to be using a boot partition on an SD card to boot up the rest of the rest of the OS on a USB

It is understood about the RW issues that plague the SD card. That said though the boot partition is tiny and you can still purchase small SD cards.

Here in the last few months had two Samsung SD cards mess up with the RW bit set to a permanent Read mode. The issue was a defect with the mfg of the SD card. The result of the issue was that I couldn't update Homeseer or the OS on the card. The Samsung cards have a lifetime warranty. I had to send the cards back to Samsung. Before doing that I copied them and wrote the copy of the image to new SD cards. The only issue I had was that I had sent two cards over to Samsung that I could not format or delete information out of.

All written above have gone to using the Pine64 2Gb machine and will be testing Homeseer on the Rock64 4 Gb machine. I have not had any issues running the Pine64 Homeseer lite computer to date. (other than the Samsung gotcha abovfe).

I am waiting on the RTC hardware changes. The Rock64 is selling with an eMMC card pins such that you can boot from an 8Gb, 16Gb, 32Gb or 64Gb eMMC card rather than the SD card.
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  #7  
Old January 13th, 2018, 11:10 AM
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Interesting, the Rock64 looks like it has the same format and IO bus of the Raspberry Pi 2 so it can take most Pi add-on modules. Can't tell if it will fit the raspberry Pi cases without modification due to the type of power connector. Don't see a reason they change it.

Have you tried plugging in the Z-Wave card used in the Zee S2 and if HS could access it? Hopefully it works.

eMMC modules are not as common, where do you get yours from?
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  #8  
Old January 13th, 2018, 11:31 AM
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Yes the Rock 64 is similar to the RPi in base hardware structure. IE: you can run Wheezy, Jessie or Stretch on it...except for:

1 - Wireless / Bluetooth is an add on optional module
2 - Storage – eMMC flash module socket + micro SD card slot + 128 Mbit SPI flash.
3 - SoC – Rockchip RK3328 quad core Cortex A53 processor
4 - System Memory – 1, 2, or 4 GB LPDDR3 @ 1866 MHz.
5 - RTC with battery (time)
6 - Network port is 1Gb with an optional second NIC 100 Mb port
7 - USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x USB 3.0 port
8 - Expansion Headers
  • 40-pin Pi-2 Bus with GPIOs, 2x I2C, Analog inputs, UART, SPI, and power signals (5V, 3.3V, and GND)
  • 22-pin Pi-P5+ Bus with GPIOs, I2S, S/PDIF, Ethernet, and power signals (5V, 3.3V, and GND)

Name:  comparison.jpg
Views: 49
Size:  195.2 KB

The RPi3 and the Rock64 are the same size.

Name:  rock64.jpg
Views: 47
Size:  118.8 KB

Here currently using a Pine64 2Gb RAM computer (larger than the Rock64).

IE: original Rock64 doesn't include the RTC battery connections like the Pine64. The RTC hardware update was supposed to be released in December, 2017 and I have been waiting and bugging them on this option.

The 2Gb of RAM lets me run Ubuntu 16.04 64 bit for Homeseer. I can still run 32 bit Wheezy, Jessie, Stretch or Ubuntu 16.04 32 bit on it. To me Linux 64bit runs faster than Linux 32bit.

Here installing the Rock64 inside of my OmniPro 2 combo alarm panel media can and it'll function as a firewall and Homeseer 3 device.
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  #9  
Old January 13th, 2018, 12:19 PM
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Looks likes it might make a fine board to run full HS3 rather than going to a Windows system. I'll be waiting to here how you're testing come along especially if you do testing with full HS3. I'll assume you'll create a thread about using the Rock 64.

I've been looking for what I'm going to run HS3 Pro in May. So far I don't really see any major downsides to going with the Rock64 other than if it can access the EZZee Z-Wave Interface Board.

Speaking of the EZZee Z-Wave Interface Board, looks like you can only get them from Express Controls in quantity of 100, at least I've not found another source. I'd think that if there was enough interest from others we might be able to do either a group buy from EC. This assumes that HS doesn't load them with special code. Maybe HS would just make it an off web purchase option for those wanting to work with it.
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  #10  
Old January 13th, 2018, 12:30 PM
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Yes that has been suggested to other HS3 users and they are doing it today testing today with Beta V.398 HS3 Pro or Standard.

Personally here running HS3 lite on the Pine64 with 5 plugins - not even making the Pine64 sweat these days - literally a low double digit percentage of utilization.

Ideally it would be nice to use Oracle VB on the Rock 64 4Gb computer. I read though that Oracle VB does not work on an ARM PC at this time.

My thing was having a battery backed up clock versus having to depend on the Internet for time. My RPi's today are all using RTC PiFace shims.

Side rant:

Convinced wife to shop online with Kohls versus going to the store. It appears that their login authentication is broken on the back end of their website as everytime she has logged in her account gets locked up. Just spoke to customer service and he confirmed that they are having issues. He said the solution was to create a new account with a new email address and he wiped out old account (with was low on the WAF). So we did try this and it locked up again with a new email address. What a joke this is.
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  #11  
Old January 13th, 2018, 12:43 PM
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The GPIO cards are serially connected to the RPI.

Such that one serial ZWave GPIO card will be the same as any other serial GPIO card if they are following RPI GPIO standards.

IE: there is nothing special about whatever card you utilize. IE: you can today also purchase a Zigbee GPIO card and it works fine with the Homeseer 3rd party Zigbee plugin.

BTW got my RPI GPIO ZWave plus card from the EU for the US on Ebay and set it up almost at the same time that the Zee2 came out.

Just looked on Ebay for the EZZee Z-Wave Interface Board and it is there for $65 which is really close to twice the price of the ZWave dot me GPIO ZWave card.

Well now checking on the zwave dot me GPIO card on Ebay and it is $74.00 USD.

Really these cards / MFG put them in the $30.00 range...

My current set up has the PiFace RTC shim on the bottom under the ZWave me GPIO card. I cannot add a Zigbee GPIO card to current stacked configuration.

Ideally we should have a combo ZWave and Zigbee GPIO card that talks to two serial ports on the RPi such that you can do a Znet device that functions both for ZWave and Zigbee. Well add in wireless and you have created a wireless automation hub using Zigbee, ZWave and WLAN automation.

Thinking that day is coming soon.

Silicon Labs’ Acquisition of Sigma will probably create this dual function card soon.

December 7, 2017

Austin, Texas-based Silicon Labs (Nasdaq: SLAB), a leading silicon provider for most of the key IoT standards, is acquiring Fremont, Calif.-based Sigma Designs (Nasdaq: SIGM), the only chip maker for Z-Wave home-automation technology. Sigma will dump its smart-TV business elsewhere. (Yes, the lawyers are already inviting disgruntled SIGM shareholders to revolt.

Z-Wave will join SiLabs' smart-home portfolio of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, Thread and proprietary technologies, creating a formidable "one-stop shop for wireless connectivity solutions for the home," says company CEO Tyson Tuttle.

Last edited by Pete; January 13th, 2018 at 12:54 PM.
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  #12  
Old January 13th, 2018, 01:44 PM
concordseer concordseer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timon View Post
Looks likes it might make a fine board to run full HS3 rather than going to a Windows system. I'll be waiting to here how you're testing come along especially if you do testing with full HS3. I'll assume you'll create a thread about using the Rock 64.

I've been looking for what I'm going to run HS3 Pro in May. So far I don't really see any major downsides to going with the Rock64 other than if it can access the EZZee Z-Wave Interface Board.

Speaking of the EZZee Z-Wave Interface Board, looks like you can only get them from Express Controls in quantity of 100, at least I've not found another source. I'd think that if there was enough interest from others we might be able to do either a group buy from EC. This assumes that HS doesn't load them with special code. Maybe HS would just make it an off web purchase option for those wanting to work with it.
One thing to watch out for with the Rock64 is heat build up. Passive cooling via a heatsink is a minimum requirement with this board. In fact I'm seing some users using active cooling via a mini fan. You may not be bothered that you will need additional dongles if you use wifi and Bluetooth (all built in to the RPI 3).

Have a good look at the community forum for reviews on how the Rock64 is performing. I believe OS images are a little patchy and a bit hit and miss.

Who knows if they get this board right it could wipe the floor with the competition.
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  #13  
Old January 13th, 2018, 02:32 PM
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Yes here the Pine64 2Gb computer is larger than the Rock64 and currently not doing anything relating to cooling the CPU passively or actively.

The Pine64 2 Gb computer has been running now this way 24/7 for over a year with no issues on Ubuntu 16.04 64 bit. It is not really multitasking and only running Homeseer 3 lite at this time. I did have an issue a few months back updating Mono on it as it was not available for an ARM running a 64bit OS.

The plans for the Rock64 relating to installing it inside of my Leviton OmniPro 2 panel.

I am already doing something similar with a micro router inside of the Alarm panel.

Original power to the microrouter was the alarm panel 12VDC. The draw is minimal without the WLAN running.

Over the last few months have changed the power supply to the microrouter to a small POE splitter such that the 5VDC required comes from a POE switch.

In order to supply power to the Rock64 this way will be using POE. That and wanting to keep the foot print small may go to a large and flat heatsink on the CPU.

Here the Rock 64 4Gb computer inside of the alarm panel will also function as a mini firewall, VPN server, Homeseer server and have redundancy of failing over to a cellular ISP connection. This will make my panel a complete automation and integration solution here in my home sandbox.

The second piece to this is using the Leviton 42" panel for networking and firewall stuff. Today have one 24 port patch panel, one 24 port managed switch which I may change to a small footprint 24 port managed POE switch, 8 port managed POE switch, VOIP box....Want to also install a micro router running PFSense inside of the 42" Leviton panel. It's looking a bit busy these days. A third panel is currently configured for touch screens and CCTV. (going slow with this one).

The Rock64 folks are still tweaking the Ubuntu builds and concurrently trying to come up with a working KODI build.

Here too considering the use of the Rock64 for use with Kodi. I am currently running Kodi on multiple Aopen Digital mini PCs using Intel CPUs. Works great and I have had no issues with it. I want to tack or Velcro the Rock64 behind the LCD TV so you do not see it.

Personally the KODI build would be relating to how well the video CPU works and the Kodi folks have not really been on speaking terms with the Mali-450MP2 GPU folks.

Did a quickie CPU temperature test and saw:

1 - Attic RPi2 - multitasking....1-Wire hub, ZWave via serial, Domoticz, Apache2, PHP server and currently SDR NOAA radio weather mapping...
CPU temperature is at: 27.2°C

2 - Pine64 2Gb computer....running Homeseer 3 lite
CPU temperature is at: 30.0°C (saids to worry if temps go to 80.0°C)

3 - Xi5A 2Gb computer....idle right now (back up HS3 Lite machine)..
CPU temperature is at: 44.0°C (active cooling)

4 - iSeries 3 Haswell chipset...Homeseer Pro machine..
CPU temperature is at: 43.0°C (active cooling)

Last edited by Pete; January 13th, 2018 at 08:43 PM.
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  #14  
Old January 13th, 2018, 10:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete View Post
The GPIO cards are serially connected to the RPI.

Such that one serial ZWave GPIO card will be the same as any other serial GPIO card if they are following RPI GPIO standards.

IE: there is nothing special about whatever card you utilize. IE: you can today also purchase a Zigbee GPIO card and it works fine with the Homeseer 3rd party Zigbee plugin.

BTW got my RPI GPIO ZWave plus card from the EU for the US on Ebay and set it up almost at the same time that the Zee2 came out.

Just looked on Ebay for the EZZee Z-Wave Interface Board and it is there for $65 which is really close to twice the price of the ZWave dot me GPIO ZWave card.

Well now checking on the zwave dot me GPIO card on Ebay and it is $74.00 USD.

Really these cards / MFG put them in the $30.00 range...

My current set up has the PiFace RTC shim on the bottom under the ZWave me GPIO card. I cannot add a Zigbee GPIO card to current stacked configuration.

Ideally we should have a combo ZWave and Zigbee GPIO card that talks to two serial ports on the RPi such that you can do a Znet device that functions both for ZWave and Zigbee. Well add in wireless and you have created a wireless automation hub using Zigbee, ZWave and WLAN automation.

Thinking that day is coming soon.

Silicon Labs’ Acquisition of Sigma will probably create this dual function card soon.

December 7, 2017

Austin, Texas-based Silicon Labs (Nasdaq: SLAB), a leading silicon provider for most of the key IoT standards, is acquiring Fremont, Calif.-based Sigma Designs (Nasdaq: SIGM), the only chip maker for Z-Wave home-automation technology. Sigma will dump its smart-TV business elsewhere. (Yes, the lawyers are already inviting disgruntled SIGM shareholders to revolt.

Z-Wave will join SiLabs' smart-home portfolio of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, Thread and proprietary technologies, creating a formidable "one-stop shop for wireless connectivity solutions for the home," says company CEO Tyson Tuttle.
Then the only real programming difference using a EZZee Z-Wave Interface Board and a USB dongle is the RGB Led on the card which display status. Since the Rock64 has a RBPi pinouts that should still work the same.

I forgot to check E-Bay darn it Sounds like they are gouging a bit but if they are the only game in town there isn't much to do about it.

As far was a Z-Wave/ZigBee board for the Pi connector you's have to use an external UART tied to one of the other busses. Still that's totally doable and has been done many times before.

Now if I can just copy my SD card to another one so I can update mono to 4.8 and have something to fall back on if something goes wrong. Wish that HS would update the image to mono 4.8 or later. PHLocate can't run without the update.
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  #15  
Old January 13th, 2018, 11:52 PM
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Personally I would update Mono to current release of Mono which is 5.4X.

The current image for the Zee2 has a custom made Mono build on it and it will not be easy or recommended to try to remove.

Most likely the new Zee2 image will be using Stretch and most current release of Mono and will be upgradeable.

My current Pine64 2Gb machine with Beta V.398 and Mono 5.4 is doing fine.

Best to tinker and build a new HS3 on the RPi or whatever from scratch.

It is easy to do and would be a Linux learning experience and you cannot break anything doing this as long as you have a back up of your Homeseer directory.
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Old January 14th, 2018, 11:23 AM
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That's the one thing I either never read or forgot that the current build used a custom version of Mono.

The current beta has been going for a while, although I have a feeling it's getting close to release, so I could end up waiting for the new image release.

BTW, which version of Stretch is recommended, Full or Lite? I was going to load Lite as I've been using ssh when working on the Pis so really didn't see a need for Full. However, as long as Full doesn't slow anything down or use more ram, using 16GB SDs so that's not an issue, having the ability to pull up the GUI through VNC could be useful.

Side note, I was surprised to see MicroCenter MicroSD cards on the official MicroSD list. I've been using Kingston Class 10 cards and never thought about MC cards.

I was cleaning up and found a couple of my old Motorola cell phones that used SanDisk MicroSDHC cards however it looks like they are Class 2 cards. I don't know if they will work at all or just write slower than the Class 4 cards. I'll give one of them a try and see how they work. Nothing really to loose and two cards to gain, at least for basic testing, if they work.
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Old January 14th, 2018, 02:50 PM
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That's the one thing I either never read or forgot that the current build used a custom version of Mono.

No it uses a standard "built" from scratch release of Mono (make install et al)...

IE the magic of make install is three pieces in Linux..
1. Configure the software - just a script
2. Build the software - running a C compiler reading source C code. (GCC -The GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) is a compiler system produced by the GNU Project supporting various programming languages. GCC is a key component of the GNU toolchain and the standard compiler for most Unix-like Operating Systems. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) distributes GCC under the GNU General ...) - Kind of like using Visual basic to make a plugin for Homeseer.
3. Install the software - moving the executables to their proper directories.

or

versus an already built version of Mono for whatever flavor of Linux you utilize.

That is what makes it difficult to remove. If you utilize a build from the Mono sources repository then its easy peasy to remove.

A static version of Mono would be like stating the Homeseer 3 only runs on Windows 10 or only on RPi Wheezy or Linux Ubuntu 12.04.

which version of Stretch is recommended, Full or Lite?

Lite.

There is one HS3 user (Concordseer) today that I know if that is running current beta HS3 V.398 and current release of Mono with no issues that I have seen.

A GUI is not required or necessary to utilize Homeseer 3 and really doesn't provide eye candy any how. VNC worked and was used for Homeseer 2 on Windows. There is still a little piece of a desktop running on the Windows version of Homeseer and really it just provide an option to update, load the web gui and shut down which really isn't much. In Linux there is no desktop icon unless you make one and you will not see anything anyhow unless you are in a local terminal session.

Here standardized on the 16Gb microSD cards form 8Gb microSD cards. Homeseer doesn't utilize much space anyhow. It's more relating to imaging of the microSD card. that said if compress the image you will mostly likely see a less than 4Gb compressed image of the card. Any microSD card will work. Newer generation are faster.

BTW the original Zee and current Zee2 are static rather than dynamic images (or so used) configured in an appliance like manner.

Linux is linux (just like windows is windows) such I tested original Zee HS3 on all of my flavors of Linux here and it worked just fine.

Here have always updated my Wheezy, Jessie or Stretch builds on the RPi.

Easy to log in and check and update via SSH or using Webmin front page shows updates and a link to updating.

Last edited by Pete; January 14th, 2018 at 05:03 PM.
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  #18  
Old January 15th, 2018, 01:08 PM
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Pete,

Lots of good information to digest.

BTW, have you ever used PiBakery? Seems like a good tool, especially on the Pi Zero, to do the initial setup if not followup changes to lots of the basic configuration. I'm going to give it a try.

Now lets have some fun.

Last edited by Timon; January 15th, 2018 at 01:40 PM.
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  #19  
Old January 15th, 2018, 01:44 PM
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have you ever used PiBakery?

No it looks interesting.

These days use Ubuntu to write base image on RPi SD card. From there and booting do things long math way....IE:apt-get install....via SSH.

Laptop Ubuntu file explorer lets me log in to RPi via root such that I edit and move files around.

IE: when updating HS3 I shut down HS3, copy HomeSeer directory, update HS3 and reboot or restart HS3.

Pushing RPi2 in attic with...ZWave, 1-Wire hub, SDR radio, apache2, php and Domoticz.
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